Tuesday, March 1, 2011

#MYOL News: Jay-Z and Lebron Unveil New Gym At LA Boys & Girls Club (February 20th-26th)

Being a Lane Maker means creating positive opportunities for others, especially the youth. Jay-Z is definitely the King of Hip Hop and Lebron is a King of Basketball for his generation. These two friends, multi-millionaire, cultural icons and philanthropists come together every year and give back to the community during All-Star Weekend. This year Jay and Bron teamed with Sprite and presented a brand new renovated gym to the Boys & Girls Club of Los Angeles. This is the third year in a row that Jay-Z and Lebron have hosted the 2 Kings Charity Event. It is always great to see that the icons we all look up to are being positive influences amongst the millions of children who want to follow their footsteps. It is important because not everyone can become one of the greatest Hip Hop artist or NBA players of all-time, but everyone can give back to those who are less fortunate and try and make their lives just a little better everyday! #MYOL

#MYOL News: 46th Anniversary Of Malcolm X's Death (February 20th-26th)

May 19, 1925 – February 21, 1965

On February 21, 1965 one of the most influential African-Americans in History was brutally assassinated. Malcolm X was the most prominent national spokesman for the Black Muslims of his time. He was widely sought as a speaker, and his debating talents against white and black opponents helped spread the movement’s message. At this time in the United States there was a major thrust for racial integration; however, Malcolm X and the Black Muslims were calling for racial separation. He believed that the civil rights gains made in America were only tokenism. To many, he was a courageous advocate for the human rights of African Americans, and he will enter the annals of American history as one of the greatest and most influential African Americans. February 21, 2011 marked 46 years since his passing. 

The Autobiography of Malcolm X is a 1965 work, the result of a collaboration between Malcolm X and journalist Alex Haley, who wrote the autobiography based on a series of in-depth interviews he conducted with Malcolm X between 1963 and 1965. After Malcolm X's death Haley authored the book's epilogue, which describes their collaboration and summarizes the end of Malcolm X's life. Whether you are a fan of Malcolm X or not, this book is a must read as there is so much to be gained from the life story of Malcolm X! Rest In Peace.

#MYOL News: Eminem Overtakes Lady Gaga As Facebook’s Most ‘Liked’ Living Artist (February 20th-26th)

Even before the substantial amount of success over the last two years, Eminem was Hip Hop and music icon! With his unprecedented career both lyrically and socially, being a white MC, Eminem has revolutionized the Hip Hop, music and entertainment game forever. Last week I posted a blog about Lil’ Wayne receiving the most “likes” on Facebook in 24 hours and this week Hip Hop does it again by breaking another record!

#MYOL News: Bun B Inteviews Ray Allen About All-Time 3pt Record For Jordan Brand! (February 20th-26th)

This interview is so classic on so many levels! Lets start with #1 Ambassador in Hip Hop, Bun B. I don’t really know exactly how Bun was the person chosen to give this interview but it’s completely fitting. I got the pleasure to interview him in 2010 and he is one of the most humble and hospitable people I have ever gotten a chance to meet. It shows how much Hip Hop and the people within the culture have an influence on the sports and entertainment world as a whole. Onto the all-time 3pt shooter in NBA history, during the interview he discusses how it feels to hold the title, what was going through is mind, how it feels to be part of the Jordan Brand and more. If that isn’t classic enough, this interview ties into the Jordan 23 x Jordan sneaker brand from the greatest player to ever play the game. #MYOL News on so many levels, check out the interview! Mine too!

Troy "Escalade" Jackson From AND 1 Mixtape Tour Passes Away (February 20th-26th)

January 11, 1976 – February 20, 2011

First and foremost I want to say RIP to Escalade as it such an untimely death. Escalade was truly one of the most exciting and dynamic basketball players to ever play. Even though he did not play in the NBA, the skills, agility and handle that he had at the size he was is unprecedented. Troy “Escalade” Jackson played Division 1 basketball at the University of Louisville from 1996-98. Jackson only played twenty games for Louisville over two years, averaging 3.0 points per game and 1.6 rebounds per game in a reserve role but he was became known as a street ball legend and a major star on the AND 1 Mixtape tour. Troy was the younger brother of Mark Jackson (NY Knick, LA Clippers & Indian Pacers) and as an older brother myself I could only imagine his pain. Off the basketball court, Jackson worked as an advocate for STD prevention. The effort he out into helping kids not get STDs is what he should really be remembered  for  but everyone will always remember AND 1's "Escalade". Rest In Peace, Troy “Escalade” Jackson.

Hip Hop: J.Cole Acapella Freestyle, Disses Wiz? & New Song "Nothing Like It" (February 20th-26th)

I think its fair to say that when it comes to young MCs in the game there is no one that can really see J.Cole on lyrics, flow and/or subject matter. When it comes to song making ability I think Drake definitely has him beat but in the other categories, there’s no competition. In the first video Cole does what all real MCs do during performances, kick a freestyle and not off the blackberry, one that he spit on the radio already or one that was written. A true freestyle off the top of the dome, on the spot as he felt the energy from the crowd. As usual he killed it and maybe I’m just analyzing the lyrics and looking for subliminal shots but I definitely think he threw a little jab at Wiz Khalifa. I don’t know, watch and let me know what you think. Below the freestyle is a new track he dropped this week entitled “Nothing Like It” and its definitely fire! So my question is when is his album “Cole World” set to drop? Do you think he’ll drop another mixtape before the album? I guess we shall see.  

Hip Hop: XXL 2011 Freshmen Cover Leaks (February 20th-26th)

Lets be honest, today’s Hip Hop game is more about who you know, how many views you have on Youtube, Twitter, Facebook "Likes" and your branding rather than how good your music truly is. With that said I think XXL actually did an average job on picking their 2011 Freshmen Class as they included some lyrical MCs with product and Hip Hop credibility and “The Other Guys”. Again, I raise the question of the “internet age” if some of these “MCs” didn’t have their movements behind them could they honestly make the cover off of pure talent? I would have to say “hell no” to probably half the list. The funny thing is in 9 years (2020) I’m sure all of this choosing “The Other Guys” will prove to be just that, MCs who shouldn’t have been on the list in the first place who may have a little buzz now but in the long run will have no respect or influence on the history oh Hip Hop when their careers come to an end. The most talented out of this group hands down is Big K.R.I.T. who makes his on beats on top of having the raw MC feel as his subject matter is so real while his ability to make great music gets better and better. The most promising out of all these MCs is Diggy Simmons who comes from Hip Hop royalty and can really flow and kick bars that are very fresh and original. Fred The Godson, Yelawolf, Meek Millz, Kendrick Lamar and Cyhi all got their own styles that are definitely hot but Cyhi is in a class of his own. Every one else, no comment.

NBA: Trade Deadline Wrap Up, Most Erratic in NBA History! (February 20th-26th)

This years trade deadline was the most erratic of all-time as numerous teams scrambled to make last minute moves, jocking for better positions in the playoffs, creating more cap space and preparing for the future of their franchise. There were at least 10 different trades that went on right before the deadline but many of them involved players that have absolutely no value and future draft picks that won’t be relevant for many years to come. So in my breakdown of what went on before the deadline I’m only going to discuss the trades of the teams that really improved with some of the moves that were made.

New York Knicks: Chauncey Billups & Carmello Anthony           
Denver Nuggets: Danilo Gallinari, Ray Felton, Timofey Mosgov, Wilson Chandler

This is obviously the blockbuster trade that made all the headlines as it brought arguably the best scorer in the NBA to an already potent offense. The question that was being raised was “are the Knicks giving up too much?” In my opinion I don’t think they did, with the team they had during the trade there was no way they could compete with the likes of the Miami Heat, Orlando Magic, Chicago Bulls or Boston Celtics this year or in the near future. Now with two superstars like Amare and Melo the Knicks become much harder to stop offensively. Some people in the basketball world started to mention the Knicks as a championship contender, lets be serious! They’re going to have to get down and play some defense before that can become a serious contender. Neither Amare or Melo have a history of being great defenders but if the Knicks don’t make some moves to become a better team they are just going to be a team that makes noise in the playoffs but can never get past great defensive teams like Miami or Orlando. Regardless, New York has gotten what it finally wanted, a superstar in Carmello Anthony. Now lets see if management is smart enough to put the right players around this offensive force to really be in the “contender” conversation.

Boston Celtics: Jeff Green & Nenad Kristic         
OKC Thunder: Kendrick Perkins & Nate Robinson

This trade was undoubtedly the most shocking of this year. The questions were raised, why would the Celtics get rid of Perk now? This team is getting old, why wouldn’t you give it one more year with your core group? Rumors were that Perkins was not willing to re-sign and neither was Jeff Green down in OKC. In defense of Danny Ainge, if there was a move to make for Perkins this was definitely the best one. Although his toughness doesn’t match that of Perkins, Nenad Kristic is still a big body at 7-feet and he is better offensively. If Shaq is healthy during the playoffs, the Celtics got better as they now have a piece to build upon in the future with Jeff Green. Do the Celtics go 5 out motion offense with Jeff Green at the PF and KG at C when Shaq is out? Is that good enough to counter the best teams in the league?The Thunder really got better by picking up Perk and next year I think they will be one of the top two teams in the West and possibly the whole league. They finally got what they needed which was a tough center in the middle to be an enforcer in the paint. With Perk, Ibaka, Harden, Durant and Westbrook the Thunder will have the youngest and most talented starting five in the league for years to come!

NJ Nets: Deron Williams    
Utah Jazz: Derrick Favors
, Devin Harris
, 2011 1st round pick & 2012 1st round pick

I didn’t really understand this move but I’m guessing it had to do with the whole Jerry Sloan and Deron Williams issue that caused Sloan to step down as coach. Williams was obviously not happy in Utah and didn’t feel like he had a real chance to be a contender any longer. I also think that William was looking for a bigger, more vibrant market where he could expand his brand so Utah got rid of him while they could to get some value rather than wait until he was a free agent and get nothing. I’m not sure if Williams will stay with the Nets that will cause more free agent talk within the next couple of years but Utah definitely got a potential star in Derrick Favors. They also picked up the Nets 1st round pick in this years NBA draft, which will be a lottery pick and also a 1st round pick in the 2011 NBA draft which will probably be a lottery pick too. I’m excited to see what Utah does to rebuild their franchise since it has lost its best team and player since the Malone and Stockton era. As far as New Jersey lets see if Jay-Z and his Russian partner can persuade the best PG in the league to stick around. If they add another star and keep Avery Johnson as head coach the Nets could possibly make some noise in the future.

Atlanta Hawks: Kirk Hinrich & Hilton Armstrong
Washington Wizards: Mo Evans, Jordan Crawford and 2011 Draft Pick

This was strictly a move for the playoffs. Atlanta needed a true point guard and more importantly a great defender. Kirk Hinrich gives you both as he can knock down the 3 just as good as Mike Bibby and he gives you more size. Hinrich is tough and is known for taking the challenge of defending some of the best guards in the league like D.Wade and more. He does a great job on D.Wade specifically but I don’t think this move makes Atlanta go any further in the playoffs past the 2nd round, depending on who they’re playing in the 1st and if they even make it out. Atlanta still needs a real center as Al Horford is undersized and naturally plays the power forward position. For the Wizards, the John Wall and Jordan Crawford backcourt could be scary but I doubt Crawford sticks around with Nick Young at the SG unless they bring one of them off the bench.

Portland Blazers: Gerald Wallace 
Charlotte Bobcats: Dante Cunningham
, Joel Przybilla
, 2011 1st round pick and 2013 1st round & Cash 

Next to the Thunder picking up Kendrick Perkins, I think the Blazers getting Gerald Wallace is one of the best moves that a team made before the trade deadline. He is a long, athletic and defensive wing that is going to fit great with Roy, Miller, Fernandez, Batum and Matthews. With the Western Conference getting smaller (besides the Lakers and Thunder) Wallace could even play the four next to Marcus Camby at times. Not to mention they basically got him for nothing!

NBA: Nick Young's Unbelievable 360 Reverse Layup (February 20th-26th)

Last week I posted the 92-foot alley-oop pass from D.Wade to Lebron and asked if it was the greatest, most efficient basketball play of all-time. This move by Nick Young is definitely not in that conversation but I don’t think a move like this has ever been done in the NBA!

NBA: Kevin Love Passes Moses Malone w/ 45th Consecutive Double-Double (February 20th-26th)

Undersized. Fat. White. If someone was told that Kevin Love is an All-Star caliber power forward as they looked at him in street clothes, probably 9 out of 10 people wouldn’t believe it. There are at least 100 players that are far more athletic than Kevin Love but when it comes to pure skill, talent and feel for the game Love is at the top of the list with anyone in the NBA.  Even though he is listed at 6’10” he is more like 6’8” and at 260 pounds he doesn’t look like someone who could be in competititon with Dwight Howard for being the best rebounder in the NBA. Love is averaging 21 pts and 16 rebs for the Minnesota Timberwolves who are not anywhere near playoff contention but are being lead by their fearless leader and competing with good teams. Kevin Love is the prime example of what the combination of knowing how to play the game, hard work and talent can produce even when your athletic or god-given ability isn’t the greatest.
Love has now passed Hall of Famer Moses Malone’s streak 44 in 1982-83 season for 2nd and the only record to beat is Moses Malone’s 50 in 1978-79 season. Love is said to be an “old school” type of player and power forward but to me he is just a real baller who knows how to play the game and it is refreshing to see someone like that have so much success!